Film Budgeting 101

5 02 2010


For this exercise, you are going to prepare a simple, independent production budget.

1. Download the form below and open in excel or recreate the form in Microsoft Word or google docs.

Sample_DV_Budget PDF

2. Go to the various sites listed and research the costs associated with each item or service.
Digibeta tape mastering — $300/1 hour tape

3.  Compile and total your costs to arrive at your total budget.

In the film industry, above-the-line expenditures are those that are negotiated or spent before filming begins. These costs can include rights for the material on which the screenplay is based; and the salaries for the screenwriter, actors, producers and director among others.

The term comes from the early studio days when the budget top-sheet would literally have a line separating the above-the-line and below-the-line costs.

The Bugdet Top Sheet (see handout), usually lists the totals for all aspects of the production, from pre-production to promotion.  Film budgets can be 50 pages or more and are quite complex.  Th Top Sheet summarizes the details of the production.

Different areas of the production are given accounts, so for example, promotions does not end up spending the Art department’s funds.




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